Plans to reopen the mothballed Leamside line have seemingly been dropped 24 hours after they were announced.

Just yesterday (October 4) a government document listed the line through County Durham as one of the projects to be completed with funds from a scrapped HS2 link from Birmingham to Manchester.

The document: “The Leamside Line, closed in 1964, will also be reopened.”

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But by Thursday (October 5) morning the commitment had been removed from the plans.

Roads minister Richard Holden told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the government is now just “committed to looking into it”.

The news has been met with fury from politicians who welcomed the announcement just yesterday.

Labour’s North East mayoral candidate Kim McGuinness said: “The Leamside line was included in all the regional briefings to the media and politicians and within a day it had been deleted from their investment list.

“The Prime Minister’s promise to the North East barely lasted 24 hours – only a fool would trust Rishi Sunak again.

“But the Leamside announcement was always a scam – the Government handed the region just £700m from the £36bn saved by scrapping HS2. You’d need more than £745m just for the cost of one part of the Leamside line – that’s just the section linked to a new Metro loop.”

But Sedgefield MP Paul Howellinsisted that there had been "absolutely no reversal" since the plans were announced. 

He said: "There’s absolutely no reversal. The situation is exactly the same as the situation was yesterday.

“What happened was the government has said that there is x billion pounds that’s going into transport here in the North East and that’s there to facilitate the Leamside line and other projects.

“The money is there to deliver it but it will be up to North East politicians to rubber stamp it.

“There’s certainly no rollback in any shape or form.”

Meanwhile Chief Executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership Henri Murison sad it makes the PM’s entire ‘Network North’ announcement a “fairytale”.

He added: “If this is what they have done and they have gone back on their word, how can we believe anything else that they have said in the last week? How can the Prime Minister have any credibility on the commitments he has made?

“If they don’t honour their commitments made on this it would be significant evidence of a betrayal of the North of England.”

John McCabe, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The government ran down the clock on HS2 over a number of years and it seems to have taken them just a matter of hours to do the same on the Leamside Line.

"Big, bold announcements made at party conferences are utterly meaningless if they aren’t backed up by fast action. The case for the Leamside Line is well known and has been strengthened by having cross-party support in the North East.

"I hope those who have long advocated for the Leamside Line will join us in continuing to do so until this essential piece of infrastructure is finally delivered.”

The line - which runs from Tyneside, through Washington, County Durham and joins up with the East Coast Mainline (ECML) at Ferryhill.

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It fell victim to the Beeching cuts of the 1960s which saw thousands of stations and miles of track taken out of use across the country.

Campaigners have long said reopening the route - which runs from Gateshead, through Washington, Penshaw, Fencehouses, West Rainton, Belmont and Shincliffe to Ferryhill - could increase capacity on the ECML and open up opportunities for a £745m extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro, bringing a huge economic boost to the region.

The campaign to restore services has been backed by cross-party MPs including Conservative Sedgefield MP Paul Howell and Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson.